Which is Better in the Context of Indian School Education: Indian Boards or International Board?

by Sagar Mankar, July 21, 2020

School education in India is changing dynamically with the introduction of international curriculums like IB (International Baccalaureate). Before we try to understand if the IB is better than CBSE or ICSE boards, let us dig a little deeper about the IB schools and the scope of international education in India. 


Founded in 1968, the International Baccalaureate is an international educational foundation having its presence in over 150 countries around the world. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The IB was developed with the goal of creating a better world through education. IB programmes are known for their unique academic rigour and their focus on instilling a strong knowledge and sense of curiosity. There are four educational programmes offered under the IB that covers all stages of a student’s academic life. 


There is an immense possibility of the growth of international educational programmes in India. With increasing awareness on the importance of world-class education, quite a few Indian parents are now opting for the IB board for their children. However, the sustainability of the international educational system in the context of Indian education is still questionable. People in India are so accustomed to the conventional schooling system that any western influence on the education system is not welcomed with open arms. Hence, the question arises whether the International curriculum will ever come in parallel to the well-established boards such as CBSE and ICSE. 


If we compare Indian boards (CBSE and ICSE) to international boards like the IB in terms of their quality of learning, the IB schools probably offer a more advanced curriculum with an emphasis on the overall development of students. International school programmes are new in India and it would take many years for such programmes to make its secured place in the Indian school education system. The IB schools are a few in number and these schools are not affordable to the majority of Indian families. As money is a major determinant of education choices, most people choose CBSE, ICSE or other state board schools over the international boards. 


Education programmes offered by schools following Indian boards such as CBSE and ICSE have a well-balanced course structure and are not any less in comparison to international schooling. While IB schools give an impression that their students are most suitable for studying overseas and if one opts for the IB, getting admission to foreign universities will become easier. However, the selection procedure or the entrance exams (SAT, TOEFL, etc.) are the same for any candidate, irrespective of which board they have studied from. Well, only a few percentages of student’s crowd in India go for foreign education straight after 12th. The major proportion opts for either engineering or medical studies from Indian colleges. In such a scenario, it is important to choose the board that complies with the kind of learning that is required to hone science and maths skills.


CBSE, the most popular and chosen board in India for school education, is known to offer extensive Science and Maths syllabus that naturally incline students to take up fields closely related to these subjects. The arts and humanities are not that detailed in the CBSE curriculum. However, if we closely look at the ICSE school syllabus, we would find the arts, commerce and humanities to be more comprehensive. 


The choice of board is important as it majorly affects a student’s aptitude and learning abilities. However, instead of pondering over which board is better, one should research more about the school, its faculty and the atmosphere of learning that the school provides. It is true that IB has more advanced facilities, better exposure in terms of extracurricular activities and a highly superior learning environment. But if we talk in the context of the Indian education system, the IB would take a lot of time before it would even be considered an option in most Indian families while deciding about which board they should send their kids to. It is important to understand that apart from the board that designs the curriculum and course plan, many other factors contribute to the quality of school education. Parents must also take into consideration the quality of teachers and infrastructure while making the choice of the board for their little ones.


It is crucial to be aware of the changing trends in education so that one can make smart and rewarding choices. Prioritize knowledge over all the glitz and glamour that are the part of many high-end schools of today. Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”.

Which is Better in the Context of Indian School Education: Indian Boards or International Board?